China's Ghost Malls

Thanks to massive projects fuelled by developers rather than retailers, and official efforts to spur a consumer economy, China is becoming home to massive, deserted malls.

Dongguan's enormous South China Mall is the world's largest. However, with barely 2 percent of the outlets rented, it has become a cavernous white elephant. Yet this is merely the largest of China's dead malls -- and construction continues on even more. The Globe and Mail examines what went wrong.

"Even by China's standards, the New South China Mall was particularly ill-conceived. A high-end shopping destination was always a stretch for Dongguan, a factory city of six million people in southern Guangdong province that relies on low-cost labour imported from other parts of China. Just past its fifth birthday, the mall's exterior paint is already starting to peel off its faux European architecture. Rivers of rust streak down from the railings of the emergency exit staircases...Only 47 of an astonishing 2,350 retail spaces are filled, the most successful businesses being McDonalds and KFC restaurants near the mall's front entrance.

The most curious thing about the New South China Mall is that it's far from unique. Largely empty megamalls are an increasingly common sight in cities around China. More are being built, even as millions of square metres of retail space already sit empty."

Full Story: China’s giant, deserted malls wait for reluctant consumers

Comments

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $199
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $14.95 a month
T-shirt with map of Chicago

Show your city pride

Men's Ultrasoft CityFabric© tees. Six cities available.
$23.00
poster

A Short History of America

From comic book artist Robert Crumb, poster shows how the built environment has changed throughout the decades.
$14.95